Microsoft Windows 8 launch in 2012 - Steve Ballmer

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer confirmed that Windows 8, the next iteration of the software giant's operating system, will be available in 2012. Speaking at a Microsoft Developer Forum in Tokyo today, Ballmer said Microsoft is "obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows." "As we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming," he continued. "As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors."
Rumours suggest that it will also offer improved voice support, turn-by-turn navigation, visual voicemail and automatic Facebook check-ins. Only the last of these, however, would be a feature not currently on offer on both Apple and Google’s operating systems, either free or via a paid-for app. Some rumours have also suggested that new devices and WiFi tethering, allowing users to share their phone’s data connection with other devices, could also be included. Although tethering too is now also offered by the Apple iPhone and has been a part of Google devices for some time, Microsoft has previously said however that it has no plans to include it. Analysts have remained sceptical at Windows Phone 7’s ability to crack a market dominated by Apple and Android. Google recently reported that 100million Android devices had been activated. Microsoft’s deal with Nokia, however, may give it a new advantage. Eldar Murtazin, an analyst who was among the first to identify Microsoft’s intention to do a deal with Nokia, has said that although Microsoft has shipped 1.5 million phones to partners, approximately 900,000 of those remain unsold so far.